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Nelson Rangell — Red

Jan. 29, 2015

Saxophonist/flutist Nelson Rangell is stepping forward on his latest project in a cool, innovative fashion, releasing Nelson Rangelltwo separate CDs with two very distinctively different styles and sounds. He calls one Red and the other Blue. Blue is an interesting mix of jazz, blues, symphony, and other fun elements that may not fit the typical smooth or contemporary jazz mold, but certainly have a clear identity. While Blue is quite impressive, especially for flute and strings lovers, the CD on which I have chosen to focus here is Red which is a bit more in line with what we know as simply contemporary jazz with its many moods and runs.

There’s a lively fusion element that makes an appearance here (e.g., “The Red Pill”), as well as soulfully gliding pieces that seem to sing out a story of their own (try “Some Next Grace”) and the sweetly calling and stirring Bill Withers tune “Whatever Happens’” which definitely sings the lyrics wordlessly through Rangell’s sax so convincingly.  Quite possibly my fave here.

There are also funky, get-atcha tracks like “Smoothly Sinister,” the niftily timed, drum-charged “Nelly’s New Thing,” the snappy mid-tempo and moderately funky “Matters of the Heart” where Rangell lights an intense fire through his emotionally charged notes, and the up-tempo high-ridin’ “Another Way.” Some cool piano work on this one, too. He closes with a rhythmic and melodic little number, “From Here,” that also features some relaxing — perhaps even reflective- whistling by the saxman and some interesting fusion moments.

Each track here is generous, averaging about 6 minutes per track; so, you have plenty of time to let your soul feel this one each time you listen to it. An easy choice for your library. – Ronald Jackson